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Mar 13

Cable #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

CABLE. This is the fourth volume of Cable. The first is the 1990s run which lasted 108 issues. The second is the 2008-9 run where Bishop chases him and Hope through time. The third is a miniseries from 2017. (There’s also an early 90s mini called Cable: Blood & Metal, and a Cable & Deadpool ongoing.)

Cable’s back story is notoriously convoluted, and recent events haven’t helped. In very broad outline, Cable is Nathan Summers, the son of Cyclops and his first wife Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey). For various reasons, assorted A-list villains were very interested in getting their hands on him. In the end, baby Nathan was (a) infected with a techno-organic virus that transformed part of his body and gave him his cyborg appearance, and (b) sent into a far future timeline ruled by Apocalypse, where he was raised by two foster parents (who were themselves actually a time travelling Scott and Jean – I told you this was all insanely complicated).

From there, Cable’s history used to involve him leading rebel forces against Apocalypse, eventually returning the present as a time traveller, and founding X-Force. However, in the recent Extermination miniseries, a second, teenaged Cable shows up from the future, and kills the original. This teenage Cable is the one we’re now following. Flashbacks in the previous run of X-Force attempt to explain this further. The long-term presence of the Silver Age X-Men in the present day (in All-New X-Men and X-Men Blue) was causing damage to the timeline, which Older Cable ought to have done something about, but didn’t. Teen Cable killed him in order to take his place and sort out the timeline problems. Why that meant killing the older Cable, and why everyone else was ultimately okay with it, is still a bit vague (if not downright screwy).

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Mar 12

New Mutants #9 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. A fever-dream version of the New Mutants.

PAGES 2-3. A mutant cowers in a tunnel in a facility in Carnelia.

The mutant is named later in the issue as Tashi Repina, and she’s 13. She seems to have made a hole in the fence somehow, and taken refuge in… some sort of outflow pipe? She’s leaving a trail of something behind her, but it’s hard to tell what it’s meant to be – some sort of goop caused by her transformation of the world around her, I suppose.

Carnelia. Another of Marvel’s many, many fictional microstates from the back catalogue. This one comes from Iron Man stories in the late 1970s, when it was a generic Russian satellite state. It’s popped up a few times since then.

Pershyy Misto is its established capital city – though this doesn’t really look like it’s in the city.

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Mar 11

X-Men #8 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cyclops and the New Mutants (specifically, Magma, Mirage, Wolfsbane and Magik) versus the Brood.

PAGE 1. Magma asks Mirage about Rahne’s egg.

The Akademos Habitat / The Sextant. The area of Krakoa where the members of the former teen teams live, including the New Mutants, as seen in their book.

Magma was a member of the classic New Mutants, but didn’t go on their recent trip to space, which was depicted in the Hickman-written New Mutants #1-2, #5 and #7. Mirage did.

The King Egg. This is the King Egg that the Starjammers were trying to steal in New Mutants. We’ll find out later that it’s a Brood King Egg. The Brood are insectoid aliens who go around planting eggs in people in order to turn them into more Brood; they’ve been major X-Men villains since the 1980s.

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Mar 4

Excalibur #8 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cullen Bloodstone in hunting gear, with the heads of Excalibur as trophies on the wall behind him. Don’t worry, this does not happen in the story.

PAGES 2-3. Cullen calms down and invites Excalibur to talk over a meal.

Cullen behaves as if he thinks he’s acting perfectly reasonably; even though he’s in monster mode, his threat is basically to call the police.

PAGES 4-5. Credits and recap. The story is “Verse VIII: The Unspeakable and the Uneatable II” by Tini Howard, Wilton Santos, Marcus To, and various others. (Four inkers – the deadlines must have been pressing…)

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Mar 4

Marauders #9 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

PAGE 1 / COVER. Bishop shoots at Yellowjacket.

PAGES 2-4. Pyro arrives on Krakoa and is immediately besieged by adoring fans.

As we’ll see later, this is a dream created by Emma Frost to keep Pyro’s mind busy and Yellowjacket confused. For what it’s worth, though, note that the other Marauders are entirely absent from Pyro’s dream, even though he’s supposed to be just off the boat. The endless beach party of Krakoa is something we’ve seen in plenty of stories, but here it’s used as a trope of ludicrous fantasy, which is… interesting.

Jean Grey appears as the one-dimensional love interest – presumably this is Emma’s reading of Pyro’s fantasy, since when we see her later, she doesn’t exactly seem in the mood to be making private jokes. Pyro seems remarkably gullible in all this, but presumably that’s Emma’s influence too.

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Feb 29

New Mutants #8 annotations

Posted on Saturday, February 29, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. By the way, the original version of the digital edition omitted the data pages – a corrected version was issued literally minutes before I was about to post this. X-Force, which has the same issue, still hasn’t been corrected at time of writing.

PAGE 1 / COVER: Magma fights the weird Brazilian monsters.

PAGES 2-3: Recap and credits. We’re continuing here from the Ed Brisson issues. The story is “A-Hunting We Will Go”, by Ed Brisson, Marco Failla and Carlos Lopez. The small print has changed to “Nova Roma – mutant hunting quadripeds”. I assume that’s a misprint for “quadruped”, not their name.

PAGE 4. Maxime and Manon tell Sebastian Shaw about the Bohem Cartel.

Blackstone is Shaw’s home on Krakoa, most often seen in Marauders.

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Feb 28

X-Force #8 annotations

Posted on Friday, February 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. This isn’t an issue in need of much annotation, but hey, it’s a vehicle for an open thread.

This post has been edited to add the data pages, now that they’ve been included in the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino and Colossus, facing opposite directions, with blood and bodies everywhere.

PAGES 2-5. Domino stops the anti-Domino from killing a politician.

Apparently the minister was intending to support pro-mutant legislation. Well, they are offering very quick trade deals.

The anti-Domino seems to be removing her own ear to use as a weapon. We saw something similar in the autopsy of the Xeno soldiers who attacked Krakoa in issue #1, and the next scene confirms the link.

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Feb 28

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, February 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

PAGE 1 / COVER. Well, it’s some of the X-Men and some characters from the Fantastic Four, isn’t it?

PAGE 2. Recap.

PAGES 3-4. Cyclops tries to reassure the FF that the X-Men aren’t responsible for Franklin and Valeria’s disappearance.

Straightforward. Scott is trying to be as emollient as possible, short of departing from his mutant-nationalist line. His comment that Valeria doesn’t belong on Krakoa is meant to demonstrate that the X-Men wouldn’t have taken them both (and it’s a fair point in that context), but goes down predictably badly. This is the basic conflict set up in issue #1: the X-Men see their mutant separatism as a positive identity, the FF (Sue in particular) see it as divisive and supremacist. For her, the X-Men only care about what Franklin is, not who he is (and she has a point).

As in issue #1, Magneto doesn’t seem particularly disappointed by this. (Note that in his data page about mutants later on, Reed is actually much more sympathetic to the mutants’ desire for a homeland.)

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Feb 27

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Jean Grey and Emma Frost, as part of some sort of psychic imagery. Cyclops and Wolverine’s faces are visible in the background, each with an X in place of their mouths – presumably to do with the silence gimmick that takes up most of the issue. Logan’s hands and claws are clearer in the original art, but they’re partly obscure by the logo. There’s also a big evil face in the top left that’s harder to place, but resembles what we see in the snake within Storm’s mind later.

Jean is wearing her early 90s costume but in her late-60s colour scheme.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. The recap page refers to Storm fighting Orchis (in X-Men #1) and the Children of the Vault (in X-Men #5). The story is “Into the Storm” by Jonathan Hickman, Russell Dauterman (who gets a co-writer credit) and Matthew Wilson. The small print on the credits page is the usual from X-Men.

PAGES 4-6. Two young mutants find Storm lying unconscious.

Not quite sure what the symbolic opening panel is adding, with everyone staring directly at the camera.

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Feb 20

Wolverine #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

WOLVERINE. This is volume 7 of Wolverine, and that’s just counting the titles that were simply called Wolverine. Volume 1 is the 1982 miniseries, volume 2 is the long-running ongoing title that started in 1988. The others are periodic reboots.

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine with his claws out, standing over some dead people, and with a butterfly on his hand. His X-Men belt buckle is lit up, for some reason. Like X-Force, this book carries the world’s smallest “parental advisory” warning.

PAGES 2-4. Alaska. A badly injured Wolverine wakes up surrounded by the corpses of X-Force. He sets off following a set of footprints.

Most of the issue is flashbacks leading up to this point. The implication is that the Pale Girl, leader of the Flower Cartel, makes Wolverine kill the rest of X-Force. (It really is fortunate that the X-Men came up with this resurrection thing in time for the Krakoa era, because ever since, they’ve become remarkably prone to getting killed…)

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